Divorced Women should not Lose Their Self-esteem

Whether it’s the fault of women or not, they are the ones who are almost always blamed for divorce in the patriarchal society. Mahima, with the help of noted psychiatrists, finds out how they should regain confidence after divorce, in the weekly column, for Different Truths.

I decided to pen this piece after a close friend of mine parted ways with her husband after eight years of domestic violence and neglect. Had read a lot about how women struggle to cope-up with such a bitter parting, but seeing someone so close go through it is a different experience. Her parents sat silent for all those six years, living in false hope that all will be fine one day. And one fine day, she was thrown out of her husband’s house, with a black-blue eye. After a year of struggle, she finally got legally separated with a five-year-old son to fend for.

One of the many things a woman learns on this course of such a life is how to rebuild her self-esteem. Once a marriage ends, due to the patriarchal society that we live-in, a woman feels totally rejected. She is rather made to feel unworthy, at times by her own family, saying, “You have shamed us in the society.”

Life-partner: the word has the deepest meaning possible in a relationship. And a woman after parting ways usually gets into depression trying to find out what was her fault? Some friends come to help, others part ways again owing to societal pressure. So what do the suffering women do? 

Some experts join me to tell you how to knock off the feeling of “I am worthless,” because it’s simply not true. Don’t forget, you are a woman of courage, strong and beautiful. So let’s take a quick lesson on rebuilding the self-esteem, to embrace a new life.

Divorce does not define you

Bidding adieu to the life partner forever of for that matter any other relationship for that matter is not fun. Being human, we tend to question back ourselves as for why did we fail? Why was the life not ‘happily ever after’ as we see in the movies? We begin to define ourselves solely in terms of being a wife and try to find loopholes in and around that relation. No wonder, the self-esteem shatters when we identify ourselves with our spouse once he goes away. That’s the reason you feel awful.

“Think about an accident that has happened in your life.  Did you tie your identity and your self-worth around it? You knew that it was destiny somehow and you got back to life. Right? So, why don’t you treat your divorce the same way?” asks noted psychiatrist Dr. Sudha Madhukar Jain from Mumbai. 

Here I too am bound to think and question her back, “But what about the stress of dealing with lawyers? Zero or dwindling finances? Child’s custody in my friend’s case?”

Dr. Sudha calmly replies, “One has to choose between the stress of living a battered life, and the stress to get rid of it. And all these momentary struggles do not mean that you are not worthy. It’s quite the opposite. You took a bold step, how many have the courage. The women either kill themselves under depression or at times are murdered by the spouse/his family. If you decided to part ways, means you are strong and worth a salute. Not worth getting into depression.”

The courage to navigate through this stressful time and the strength to carry on alone speaks volumes of your character and your all-around awesomeness! You must applaud yourself for the bold step you have taken! 

Dr. Madhur Singla, a renowned psychiatrist from Chennai elaborates, “If a woman is still struggling in rebuilding her self-esteem, I understand. This is because we live in a patriarchy-driven society which always blames a woman, even if it is not her fault. Thus I have some recommendations for such women to follow and regain their lost confidence. But before that embrace the fact that you are amazing as you had the courage to take such a bold decision.”

Chart-out Things that You’re Good at

Acknowledging your awesome skills is an important step to nurture yourself. And each woman is unique and fantastic in her own ways. So you may be:

A good cook

A good listener

A sympathetic human being

A good writer

A caring woman

A go-getter who knows how to achieve in life

A logical thinker

A good planner….and so on and so forth. Simply think of as many things as you can and make a list. And always go back to it to add more such points.

List things you Love

Many times, women forget to enjoy what they had loved before marriage. Because we are told to keep others before self. Forget the days, now it is all about yourself, you are free! Kick that negative thinking aside and start acknowledging what all you love to do and love about yourself. Say:

I love cooking

I love my smile

I love to paint

I love to sing

I love my long hair.

I love to explore new things. 

I love to read/write

I love my child! We all do…

I love how to entertain others…. and so on and so forth.

Simply list out everything and keep coming back to it as and when you want to add more. 

Feeling Doomed? Remind yourself about Step 1 and Step 2

Next time the depression-monster starts getting heavy on you, stop it then and there. Open list 1 and 2 and start doing what you love. Engage yourself. Remind yourself how good you are. And engage in an activity that makes you happy. 

For example, examine your thought: “My husband left me, my family is not helping out. I am worthless.”

Stop. Please remind yourself, “I am a positive human being, a woman of courage and this time will pass soon since the worst is over.” 

The trick is to turn negative thoughts into positive with your own help, with your own hidden talent, with your own worth. Yes, keep reminding yourself that you are worth every happiness in life. Only then you can regain your confidence. 

You might tell me, “It is easier said than done. How can you feel our pain?”

Well, as the eldest of the two siblings and the daughter of a single mother, I am telling you to mark my words, “Nothing is worse than losing time over a bad relationship. Nothing is worse than losing your self-esteem.”

So rise and shine. I end it here with an excerpt from my poem:

Our courage doesn’t always roar,

But it always makes us soar,

So sky is our limit,

And our flight starts from Horizon,

Coz we are Women…The Women of Courage!

©Mahima Sharma

Photos from the Internet

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